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Bach: Lutheran Masses, Vol. 2

Bach,J.s. / Sixteen / Christophers
Release Date: 03/11/2014 
Label:  Coro   Catalog #: 16120   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Jeremy BuddBen DaviesJulia Doyle
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



BACH Mass in G , BWV 236. Gott der Herr ist Sonn’ und Schild , BWV 79. Mass in A , BWV 234 Harry Christophers, cond; The Sixteen CORO 16120 (73:52 Text and Translation)


A Lutheran Mass consists of just the Kyrie and Gloria, which were still sung in Latin more than a century after the Reformation began. (The Credo was sung in Read more German and the last two movements were optional parts of the service.) Bach wrote five settings, but the Missa 1733 eventually gained the rest of its movements to become the Mass in B Minor. The other four have now been recorded by The Sixteen, though I have not received the other disc containing BWV 233, 235, and another cantata (BWV 102). Cantata 79 was chosen for inclusion because each of these Masses includes one movement that is a parody of the cantata, the “Gloria” of BWV 236 and the “Quoniam” of BWV 234. In fact, 20 of the 24 movements of the four Masses have been drawn from cantatas, reworked in various degrees. In each case the Gloria is divided into five movements with choruses framing the three inner movements. The Masses have not been regarded favorably by commentators, who seem to prefer the music in its original form as cantata movements, and Christophers calls them “seldom heard.” Perhaps they are not often heard in concert, but the “Qui tollis” from BWV 234 was recorded (twice) in the shellac era, and Hans Grischkat recorded an integral set of the four Masses in the earliest days of LP (he added the four settings of the Sanctus, BWV 237 to 240). Beginning around 1970 more sets began to arrive from Helmuth Rilling, Michel Corboz, Martin Flämig, Richard Hickox, and Hans-Martin Linde. After that I lost track, but sets have been more common than recordings of single Masses.


The performances are up to the ensemble’s expected high level. The group, always flexible in makeup, consists here of eight singers and an ensemble of 22 players. The cantata, written for Reformation Sunday of 1725 (the composer’s third cycle of cantatas), is especially well done. It is nice to hear the Mass movement that was singled out in the shellac era, a soprano solo with flute obbligato. The long lines require a voice capable of a sustained legato line, elegantly realized here by Julia Doyle. This is characteristic of the high level that Christophers has brought to this endeavor. I cannot compare this with the competition, but it can stand on its own for a favorable recommendation.


FANFARE: J. F. Weber
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Works on This Recording

1.
Missa brevis in G major, BWV 236 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Baroque 
Written: after 1735; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  St Augustine's Church, Kilburn, London 
Length: 27 Minutes 38 Secs. 
2.
Gott, der Herr, ist Sonn und Schild, BWV 79 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1725; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  St Augustine's Church, Kilburn, London 
Length: 14 Minutes 13 Secs. 
3.
Missa brevis in A major, BWV 234 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Jeremy Budd (), Ben Davies (), Julia Doyle ()
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Baroque 
Written: after 1735; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  St Augustine's Church, Kilburn, London 
Length: 30 Minutes 31 Secs. 

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